Together in Christ (Colossians 1:11-20)

Thanksgiving Sunday – United Black Christians’ Anniversary

A Prayer for Reign of Christ Sunday

Here is your throne, Christ Jesus, Lord of all.

It looks like a park bench on a drafty winter afternoon, whose only occupant is curled up asleep under the pile of paper and blankets.  It is You resting there, trying to find a few hours of rest before You are pushed out, told to move on.  Your reign is a home, where all gather in warmth.

Here is your throne, Christ Jesus, Lord of all.  It looks like an uncomfortable plastic chair, pulled close to a hospital bed. The room is quiet except for the hushed sounds of breathing and the steady pulse of machinery. Your hand is the one holding the hand of the sleeping patient. Your reign is a temple of healing, where all find comfort.

Here is your throne, Christ Jesus, Lord of all.  It looks like a scratched and graffitied desk in an impoverished schoolhouse.  The class is packed with too many students and too few resources.  And yet there You are, crowded into the back row, raising Your hand to ask yet another question no one can answer.  Your reign is a classroom for justice, where all learn that the last will be first.

Here is your throne, Christ Jesus, Lord of all.  It looks like a worn and polished pew on a Sunday morning.  It seems like there’s plenty of room, but the unspoken rules that govern who-sits-where are as strict as any commandment.  And there you are, plunking yourself down right in the middle, as if there are no rules at all.  Your reign is a sanctuary of hospitality, where all experience extravagant welcome.

We want to put you on a different kind of throne, Christ Jesus, Lord of all.  We want your throne to feel plush, to look shiny, to express might and strength. Instead, You!  Ruler of the Earth and the Heavens rest on a park bench.  You!  The king of Majesty recline in a hospital room.  You!  Messiah squirm in our country’s underserved classrooms.  You!  the Savior sit right here, right now, right beside me.

Where else will I see you, if only I look!  Amen.

 

 

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Infinite Possibilities (Isaiah 65: 17-25)

Listen for the still speaking voice: God who declares through the prophet, “I am about to create new heavens and a new earth…”

Two families of German Lutheran immigrants heard the voice in the middle of the 1800’s when they traveled to Galveston, Texas, in a leaky boat that nearly sank in the Gulf of Mexico. The immigrants listened to God’s voice declaring that a new creation was coming as they gathered with a few other Germans who had already settled in the area.  Together, the families founded a Lutheran church which they named St. Peter’s.

The church members kept listening for the still speaking God, when yellow fever decimated the community twice in the next twenty years.  And then they listened again when their church building burned down a few years after that.  They heard God declare a new creation was already being imagined and it gave them hope in those difficult times.

In 1937, St. Peter’s adapted again, changing its worship services from German speaking to English speaking.  And then, in the 1950’s there was a new creation again when the church joined the newly formed United Church of Christ.

Recently, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ changed again.  The small, white, traditional congregation merged with Houston’s Cathedral of Hope–a tiny satellite of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas.  Cathedral of Hope-Houston’s pastor is African American.  The small congregation had started off as a renter at St. Peter’s, but then they approached the church asking how they could afford necessary physical plant updates.  Instead, representatives of St. Peter’s proposed a merger.  That’s how the church became what it is today–God’s new creation called St. Peter United.  The congregation had once again listened to the still speaking God’s declaration that a new creation was being brought to life.

In just a little under two hundred years God has made many changes at St. Peter’s.  They were not changes that the founders could have imagined because God’s imagination is so far beyond anything our human minds can create.

Listen, God is still speaking!  “I am about to create new heavens and a new earth.”  Pay attention to what God’s creative imagination might have in store for you and your community.

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Fall Hours Begin September 8, 2019

Beginning September 8, 2019, and continuing until the first Sunday in June, 2020, Faith Formation classes will meet at 9:30 a.m., and worship starts at 10:30 a.m.

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This Week at St. John’s UCC

Centering Words for November 17:  Do not be weary in doing what is right for, by your endurance, you will gain your souls.

Sunday, November 17–Worship, 10:30 a.m.  Special speaker: Kyle Zanker, Chief Development Officer for Crossroad Child and Family Services, Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  Her message is based on Luke 18:15-17:  Let the Little Children Come Unto Me.

A time of fellowship takes place in Oppermann Hall after worship.

Tuesday, November 19–Ladies meet at LuLu’s, 9 a.m.; Excellence in Ministry, 10 a.m., Walk Day at Bluffton Elementary School, TOPS, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, November 20–Men meet at Arby’s, 8:30 a.m.; choir practice at 7 p.m., Food Pantry distribution, 7 to 8 p.m.

Thursday, November 21–Piano tuning in the sanctuary, 8 a.m.; Community Thanksgiving dinner and BAMA Thanksgiving service at Senior Center, 6 p.m.

Sunday, November 24–Thanksgiving Sunday; Consistory meets after worship

Upcoming Events:

Sunday, December 1–First Sunday in Advent; the Hanging of the Greens; Dedication of a new Christmas Tree in memory of Pastor Don Rock; Christmas piano/organ duets provided by Barbara and Mary Plaugher

Sunday, December 8–The choir’s Christmas cantata will be performed during the worship service; Second Sunday Potluck follows in Oppermann Hall.

 

 

 

 

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Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen

If you would like to volunteer for helping serve at Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Lima on Tuesday,  November 26, 2019,  please sign up on the bulletin board in the sanctuary.  Helpers are always welcome.

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Facebook Page

You are missing out on a super way to advertise our church if you are not sharing with many of your other Facebook friends St. John’s Facebook page.  There are many interesting articles posted every day.  “Friend” all of your friends and ask them to “Like” the St. John’s page–let’s let people know we are here, alive, and moving forward!

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St Johns Snow

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This website can now be found at www.blufftonstjohns.com!

In an effort to make this site easier for you to access, it can now be found at www.blufftonstjohns.com!  You can still find this page using the old web address, but now it will be easier to tell family and friends where they can find up-to-date news about St. John’s UCC in Bluffton, Ohio.

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